(Editor: Throughout the month of February, across our Blog and Social Media platforms, we will celebrate Geauga small businesses while highlighting GCPL resources for small businesses. We reached out to Geauga County small business owners and asked them for the story behind their businesses as well as any advice they have to offer other small business owners and those looking to start their own small businesses. The following is an interview with Greg Tarr of Chow Down.)

GCPL: When was Chow Down founded?

Greg Tarr: 1988

GCPL: What is the story behind your business?

GT: I was offered opportunity to run a small snack bar. Which I ended up buying and expanding.

GCPL: What challenges did you face in getting started & how did you overcome the barriers?

GT: My business or myself was unknown. I had little money. I chose to grow slowly and let the business pay for its own expansion and grow slowly. I also walked around town and introduced myself and the business to the businesses in the area.

GCPL: What challenges do you face in your day-to-day operations, and how do you overcome them?

GT: Challenges: Keeping good help and rising food costs. How I overcame them: I treat the employees good and diligently watch the food cost and the suppliers I am using, without sacrificing quality.

GCPL: What is your favorite part of owning a business?

GT: Getting to use my creativity and the challenge of making it work and growing.

GCPL: Why did you decide to start your business?

GT: There was nothing else exactly like my business in the area.

GCPL: What inspired it?

GT: My exposure to different nationalities and good foods while growing up

GCPL: What kinds of training and education did starting your business require (College, trade shows, seminars/conferences, etc.)?

GT: Trade shows, seminars, some classes and having to become Serv Safe Certified

GCPL: Have you ever used the library to help with this?

GT: Absolutely! Many times I have used reference materials for food trends, background materials for food trends, styles of cooking for different nationalities etc.

GCPL: What resources did/do you find most useful in helping you to start, grow, and maintain your business (Books, software, training materials, databases, etc.)?

GT: Books were the most helpful (I’m old school…that’s all I know how to use..haha)

GCPL: What advice do you have for people who want to start a business?

GT: You have to be totally dedicated and very passionate about what you are going – hang on tight! It’s a bumpy ride!

You can find Chow Down on its website and Facebook.

Greg is currently listening to The Beatles’ White Album and Abbey Road